Why Knot?

Why Knot?

Andy Dear | Thursday, 20 August 2020

In 1995 when I took up fly fishing, there was no youtube...heck the internet itself was even in its infancy. It may sound archaic and crude to all you " youngn's" out there, but the way you learned stuff back then was through BOOKS, and maybe the occasional VHS videotape.

 After reading a few generalized fly fishing books, it became apparent pretty quickly that learning some basic knots was going to be paramount to putting all this new gear I had aquired to good use. I promptly went out and purchased "Practical Fishing Knots" by Mark Sosin and Lefty Kreh. Despite the fact that it was excruciatingly tedious to learn some of these knots from a book, I became fascinated with knots. Much like Viking Lars in his Front Page last month about this very subject, I even find their symmetry and shape downright beautiful.

I have come to learn over the years though, that not everyone feels this way. On a few occasions, I have been asked by budding fly fishers to help them learn the basics of the sport. They always get excited about casting, and fly tying, but when it comes to knots, they simply can't be bothered. Case in point; somewhere around 1998 a close friend became envenomated by the bite of fly fishing and asked me to help him gear up. A few hours and several hundred dollars later we found ourselves at my apartment discussing how to put all this together. When it came time to learn a few knots, what ended up happening is that I set all his gear up, while he shamelessly ignored my instruction, and watched a sitcom on television. Needless to say, his fly fishing career ended about 2 months later, and I helped him sell off all of the barely used gear.

  Several years back I made the switch to a braided line on most of my spinning and casting gears, for the advantages that we all know braid offers. Most of the time, however, I use a fluorocarbon leader to hedge my bets against any sort of visibility issues that braid may cause when tied directly to the lure itself. This necessitated learning a whole new set of knots, that amazingly enough, continue to evolve and improve every season by users of conventional rods and reels. Last night I found myself in the throes of learning the FG knot and the GT knot, both of which exhibit amazing strength for how slim and simple they are to execute. And in the case of the FG topped off with a Rizzuto finish, produces a downright gorgeous profile that is deceptively strong.

Any of you who have followed my Front Page musings over the past year are well aware of my dear freind whom I refer to as "Bubba"...which really is his self appointed nickname. Back in the early 2000s Bubba produced an outstanding instructional video in conjunction with legendary angler and guide Rob Fordyce called "No Wimp Knots". Not only was this a highly educational production on proper knot tying, it was also a keen insight into how the angler who many (including myself) consider to be the pre-eminet Tarpon guide of all time constructs and designs his big game fly fishing leaders.

  I actually take a lot of pride in being able to tie effective knots, and have actually begun to think of it as an art not all that different from tying flies or building rods. Even though it is an afterthought to many anglers, knots are after all the "glue" that holds everything together, and allows us to do what we do. In fact, I can say that I may actually be prouder of being able to tie a proper Bimini Twist, than I am of having received a Bachelor of Arts degree from a University. And, I can say with a high degree of certainty that I have used the Bimini infinitely more in the last 20 years than I have the college degree.

Hope you all have a great week,